Early Morning Fire Kills Wilton Mother and Daughter

    Family and friends of a mother and daughter killed in an early morning fire are mourning their loss.

    At 4 A.M., volunteer fire fighters from five surrounding communities rushed to 730 Gunlock Road in Wilton. By the time emergency services arrived, the home was engulfed in flames.{}

    9-year old Leah Elizabeth Lee was found dead inside the house. Her mother, 40-year-old Kandace Devon Lee was rushed to Shelby Baptist Medical Center. She died a few hours later from smoke inhalation and burns to her body. {}Kandace's teenage son and another man escaped without injury.

    Leah was being home-schooled, but attended Montevallo Elementary for the past few years. "This is a school where we all knew the child. And it's touched us all," said Assistant principal Haley Franks. "We've had grief counselors out here, talking to our teachers and just trying to get us through. They are available for the children also."

    Franks says counselors plan to be in the schools when children return to the classrooms next week.

    A spokesman with the {}Alabama Fire Marshall's office says an investigation is underway, but at first glance it appears the fire was simply a "horrible accident."{}

    October is traditionally fire prevention month. {}Franks says Montevallo is the only town in Alabama to host an annual parade. She believes that in light of this tragedy, it might be a good time to revisit the topic in schools.{}

    This tight-knit community is absorbing the news, and reeling. The City is tentatively planning a special remembrance of the pair at a harvest festival next weekend.


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